Young Indian Photographers You Should Know
[Note to readers--This article was originally published over a year ago. Over the course of this year, we’ve discovered countless new contemporary, young photographers in the country who are forces to be reckoned with within their own chosen spaces of expression. If you’re interested in discovering more such lensmen we suggest checking out other articles from our archives such as Indian Photojournalist Series That Lend Us Perspective (Volumes I & II) ‘12 Indian Photographers Capture How Differently Men & Women Interact With Public Spaces,’ or even our interview with Magnum Photo nominee, Sohrab Hura. Either way, we believe this compilation was a fairly timeless one so in case you never came across it before, these young image makers’ work is entirely worth getting to know.]
Coming with a sense of inclusiveness, the art of making images is going through one of its most interesting transitions. With technology in all forms recognising the need to document our life visually, almost everyone and anyone with a camera is standing on the brink of a creative entrance. You can be a film reel aficionado and an instagram star, simultaneously. But with the ingression of photography into our lives, there is a greater need to spot and filter the exalted work of imagery from the clichéd humdrum.
Today, we handpick seven young contemporary photographers, who are steadily outshining the others with their individual style and their need to extract more from the art.
I. Nirvair Singh Rai
Bringing a sense of surrealism to photojournalism is 20-year old photographer, Nirvair Singh Rai. A photography student at the prestigious South Asian School of Photography, Dhaka, Nirvair has managed to document the local serenity of Bangladesh and Punjab, where he originally hails from, from a sophisticated and journalistic viewpoint, that is hard to find in young photographers.
He also dabbles in different styles, where his images boast of old world charm, and work their way around surrealistic and whimsical settings. His ability to glorify regular surroundings to make them seem purely artistic can be noted very wonderfully in the images he makes. His black and white images seem especially profound, and the maturity they exude is exemplary. Nirvair’s work is bound to remind you of some of photojournalism’s greats, while continually seeming starkly individualistic. His recent documentation of the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, too, is poignant and strikes a chord.
II. Tenzing Dakpa
In the world of incessant documentation lies the young associative photographic style of Tenzing Dakpa. A Tibetan, born in India, and ‘insulated from all things Tibet’, as he would like to call it, his style of imagery sets him apart with his need to connect with the subject in an extremely intimate manner.
Which is precisely why, when going through the slideshow of Dakpa’s images, I got ushered into the subject’s world in a lot more intimate manner than I would like to, which really does make you wonder aloud about his composition techniques. His work on capturing portraits of fellow Tibetans residing in the country, or his photo essay ‘Vez and Me’ which documented his extremely intimate friendship with his companion Vez, speaks volumes about his work, whose freshness is literally bound to catch you off guard.
III. Raj Lalwani
As the features editor of a popular photography magazine, Raj is quick to note the offbeat in an image, and put it, without hesitance, into words. Armed with a camera around his neck, at all moments, sans hyperbole, Raj is a photographer on the move, and thus comes to fore how ably he documents the quirk in day to day life. In all of his work, whether spontaneous or the assignments he works on.
Raj’s affiliation with the art and the instrument leads him to effectively combine the skill and the craft, and thus it gives birth to some of the most tastefully made images, with a deep sense of metaphor. His most mature work would be his photo essay, ‘Not Quite a Family Album’, wherein he effectively has brought to life the most profound compilation of the Lalwani home. His aesthetics lead the viewer to a sense of warmth and deep thought.
IV. Ronny Sen
Hailed as one of the most exciting names to come out in recent times, Ronny Sen has quickly spiraled to be a photographer whose work is both critically acclaimed, and favourably appreciated. Choosing monochrome as his style of documentation, Ronny has produced a plethora of variance in short while, in his various photo essays. One of his most exciting work is his series titled ‘Don’t Breathe’ that carefully captures the absolute lack of space in the most urban situations of the country. A decisive moment taker, his shots seamlessly transcend from the usual settings they are captured in to reveal a deeper metaphorical meaning to the situation.
V. Bhumika Bhatia
The fallen leaves of early winter stare at you under their hues of mystic orange. The subject, a woman, in raw earthy beauty, is painted a picture of imperfection and composure. Standing tall amidst the world of outcries is Bhumika Bhatia’s take on photography as a tool of moment capture. A moment that forces you to sit, sigh and gape at the beauty she has presented on a frame of quietude.
Soft, warm and cool colours set to tones of juxtaposed saturation and contrast, Bhumika’s attempt to bring about neutralisation with an eye-appeasing quality in her pictures leads to an image of placidity that soaks the reader in. Her assignments putting forth a picture of modernity and coolth, her personal style a lot more tranquil, Bhumika’s images paint a wonderful picture of parity.
VI. The Green Hearts
With rise in visual resistance, and the need to instantly take to anything the least bit unique, comes the ability of three young boys, who most notably are creating a work of creative mélange. Combining graphic designing elements with a more spiritual take on photography, they produce, successfully, images that have the coarse beauty of nature with a processed take of newness. While the purists will be quick to lambast the work of Ajay Koli, Siddharth Mate and Sankalp Agarwal, as nothing greater than photoshopped beauty, what must be noted is the lack of pretense to pass of a worked-on image as a natural one.
What instead comes to notice is their unconventional and at times bizarre take on photography that pleases the eye of the indie-lover. And we all know, there are many of them takers.
VII. Adil Hasan
Grainy, pictorial frames with skewed and variant style of composition, Adil Hasan’s work is a urbanised, yet an extremely individualistic collection of images. With his most poignant work being his photo book, ‘When Abba was ill’, which chronicled a period of personal significance to him, the book’s images nevertheless strike an intimate chord with the viewer. Even his other pet projects remind the viewer starkly of a great sense of personal style that is reminiscent of not a lot of work we’ve been exposed to.